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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 24. October 1, 1968

Not puerile fairy tales

Not puerile fairy tales

"All traditional myth is not merely puerile fairy tale. Myth must be looked at from the angle of the culture In which it belongs as part of a carried culture half forgotten."

This is what Mrs Adele Schafer told a group of Training College students and lecturers last Friday, in introducing a recording of her radio play "The Spiral Tatoo".

"The Spiral Tatoo" is based on the Maori myth of Mataora and Niwareka, and tells how the art of tattooing was brought back from the underworld.

In her short talk Mrs Schafer outlined some of her work in studying Maori mythology.

She finds possible links between the Maori language and Sanscrit, believing that Maori and other Polynesian languages may have developed from this source.

She said the legend of a descent into the underworld and a successful return has parallels in other culture.

It symbolises, she believes, the planting of the seed, and its subsequent germination, and is often associated with an initiation ritual such as tattooing.

Mrs Schafer mentioned that she had only studied a few myths in depth, and recommended ' this field to Polynesian Studies students as one which repaid close study.